Couple-Level Minority Stress: An Examination of Same-Sex Couples' Unique Experiences
Frost, David, A.J. LeBlanc, B. de Vries, E. Alston-Stepnitz, Rob Stephenson, and C. Woodyatt. Forthcoming. "Couple-Level Minority Stress: An Examination of Same-Sex Couples' Unique Experiences." Journal of Health and Social Behavior.
Social stress resulting from stigma, prejudice, and discrimination-"minority stress"-negatively impacts sexual minority individuals' health and relational well-being. The present study examined how being in a same-sex couple can result in exposure to unique minority stressors not accounted for at the individual level. Relationship timeline interviews were conducted with 120 same-sex couples equally distributed across two study sites (Atlanta and San Francisco), gender (male and female), and relationship duration (at least 6 months but less than 3 years; at least 3 years but less than 7 years; and 7 or more years). Directed content analyses identified 17 unique couple-level minority stressors experienced within 9 distinct social contexts. Analyses also revealed experiences of dyadic minority stress processes (stress discrepancies and stress contagion). These findings can be useful in future efforts to better understand and address the cumulative impact of minority stress on relational well-being and individual health.